Firm political leadership needed to deflect dissidents
The detonation of a letter bomb at Palace Barracks in Holywood is the latest in a long line of incidents involving dissident paramilitaries. The smuggling of a bomb into an Army barracks is one way of achieving the maximum publicity possible for nefarious deeds.
But on another level it raises the question about how such a device was allowed to penetrate the security cordon.
No doubt the top people in Holywood and London will be carrying out thorough investigations to prevent this happening again.
The incident also shows there are still people who are irreconcilable to a shared future here - so what can we do about it?
Unfortunately, there are always people who are ready to make political capital out of commemorations, including bandsmen, marchers and others who dress up in their outfits, who resurrect the memory of age-old events, and in some cases long for a whiff of the smell of cordite.
Only weeks ago there was a blatant demonstration by INLA members in Londonderry at the funeral of the veteran republican Peggy O'Hara.
Some people question whether or not this was a show of bravado rather than an indication of paramilitary strength. Significantly, however, Martin McGuinness stated in the Belfast Telegraph earlier this week that those who dressed up to march in Derry could have shown more respect to Peggy O'Hara. Many people inside, as well as outside, the republican movement will agree with this.
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum, and this is certainly applicable to any society where politics is not working properly.
This is particularly true of Stormont, where the current impasse over welfare reform and other issues is threatening the future of the institution itself.
This deadlock needs to be resolved as soon as possible, and the best way to do this is to show firm, clear and visionary political leadership, as well as zero tolerance for terrorist activity and those who flirt with it.